Takeaways for Women Entrepreneurs

Takeaways for Women Entrepreneurs

A few weeks back, I went to my first Women@Austin event.  Women@Austin is…
Most of the events I’ve attended lately I’ve been facilitating and it’s hard to manage a panel + audience to encourage interaction AND let the content really sink in.  

  • Luckily, at Women@Ausitn, I was in the audience and able to do just that. Below are a few things that I learned:
    “Just because it’s a thought, doesn’t mean it’s real” – Jess , CEO of Woman@Austin
    • I loved this. I spend a lot of my day being uncomfortable.  As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly encountering “firsts” which is very exciting, but also leaves room for a lot of doubt. First call with a CPA. First decision to invest in technology, First prospect situation that I’d never anticipated.  All these firsts COULD make me feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, because by definition, if it’s my first, I really don’t. Sadly, I sit in that doubt longer than I should, until, Jess’s comment. It really stuck. 
  • Skill vs luck: Men vs women
    • The Woman@Austin discussion led to the Wharton study on self assurance. Net/net of this study was when you have both successful men and women who are asked what they attribute their success to, men said their skill, whereas women said it was luck.  For me, this could not be more spot-on. It’s very hard for me to brag about myself and I suspect that that is the same for a lot of women. But why? We work just as hard (possibly harder when you factor in the difference in confidence) but to me, it feels impolite to gloat and often times this is to my detriment. Combine that with my self deprecating humor and it doesn’t necessarily paint the best picture of an entrepreneur helping to end the gender gap. Ladies (myself included), we gotta get better at knowing when, where and how to share our kickass accomplishments … Next I’d rattle off some actionable steps on how to do that… foreshadowing of a future blog..? absolutely. 
  • Ladies tend to play it safe 
    • I’m a SUCKER for data so it’s not surprising that the other study mentioned turned out to be a key takeaway for me. This study was from Cornell about risk taking. 
    • Cliff Notes of the study, both men and women students were asked “Am I good at Science?” and then were given a pop quiz.  Men tended to overestimate their abilities, where women underestimated. THEN, without knowing the results of the quiz, all the students were asked to join a science competition.  Less than 50% of women entered the competition whereas 72% of the men did. The psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger deduced “Because they (women) are less confident in general in their abilities, that led them not to want to pursue future opportunities.” 
    • To me, this comes down to self assurance and risk-taking and by pointing out to women that they tend to underestimate themselves will make them have more assurance in the future.  If you’re like me, an already rather risk taking gal, knowing that many women don’t take the risk makes me want to take EVEN MORE risks to help even the playing field. 
    • When you break it down, the scary part of risk-taking is failure.  I believe that “failure” gets such a bad wrap. At Prowess, failure = findings.  We learn from what doesn’t work and course correct, but at least we tried. What was that old quote from Michael Jordan? “You miss every shot that you don’t take”?  Girlfriend, take the shot.  

Again, thank you Women@Austin for bringing us together and I’m already looking forward to the next event!

Until next time, 

Ashley

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